To visit Social Services as my food stamps card got declined yesterday at Kroger buying Maymay's birthday Sloppy Joe fixins. See the cool thing about food stamps is they eliminate the need to decide between paying to keep the electricity on or buying food. I didn't change out of my dirty Carhart coveralls and I wore my City of Richmond shirt. I haven't been able to get my case worker on the line since Monday of last week when she told me what I needed to fax her about my new job. My original case worker is long gone, it seems, my second case worker is on extended medical leave. My new case worker never heard of me before Monday.
I tried to communicate all this to a lady who was vetting people in line. She told me that no case workers would be available today and could I come back tomorrow. I said I couldn't as I got my kids then. She then gave me two supervisors' numbers and very nicely turned me away. I went outside, suddenly very light headed again. I had been getting lightheaded all week. There is a nice courtyard there on Marshall and eighth I think, with a canopy framed by tall willow oaks. I sat on a bench and called the numbers. The wind blew and slender willow leaves clattered all around my boots. I hated everyone walking by who looked like they might have a nicer job than me.
Walking the long blocks back to the truck, someone called me back. I didn't get her name because of noise of the traffic. The sky looked gray and cold and low. She took my information and put me on hold. I wondered if I should stop walking and get my paperwork out of my backpack but then noticed I was walking through that homeless no man's land between the dead mall there on Marshall street and the Coliseum. Everything was open, exposed and concrete and faded metal that was tall and brown. There were dudes sitting around a metal table looking drunk. At some point I noticed my call had ended. I got that old feeling again like I was marching through the Apocalypse. I kept walking because I wasn't sure what else to do.